The naming of economist Gikas Hardouvelis as Greece’s new finance minister took most observers by surprise but the big challenges awaiting him are no secret.
Ending days of speculation, the new Greek cabinet was named on Monday, with Eurobank economist Gikas Hardouvelis being appointed Yannis Stournaras’s successor at the Finance Ministry.
Although PASOK managed to perform slightly better than most pollsters expected in the European Parliament elections, the pressure from within the party on its leader Evangelos Venizelos has increased.
The resignation on Thursday of Greece’s chief tax collector, Haris Theoharis, has raised questions about the Greek government’s commitment to creating a genuinely independent revenue service and meeting the troika’s demands.
It would be an exaggeration to say that the Greek government entered a state of paralysis following the May 25 European Parliament elections but it certainly appears that a number of key tasks have been put on hold as ministers wait for a cabinet reshuffle to take place before resuming normal service.
Greece’s political parties have been looking at the May 25 European election results to understand whether there has been a decisive shift in public opinion that makes a SYRIZA or New Democracy win in a national vote more or less likely.
Greece’s parties are still digesting the results of the European Parliament and local elections but the first signs of the political strategies that New Democracy and SYRIZA will adopt over the months to come are beginning to emerge.
The results of the European Parliament elections in Greece have put any prospects of snap general elections, even though SYRIZA has made a formal request for the country to go to the polls soon.
The expectation that the PASOK-led Elia alliance would receive less than the 8 percent it got in the European Parliament elections on Sunday has to some extent disguised the deep problems within the centre-left party.
The final results from Sunday’s European Parliament elections confirmed that SYRIZA gained a victory of 3.9 percentage points over New Democracy but the outcome of the ballot left both parties to think about in the weeks ahead.